Much attention right now is focused on the border between Israel and Lebanon, but that doesn’t mean the US isn’t continuing to do its work in Iraq. It looks as if there’s another fairly big initiative going on to drive out terrorists from one of their local bases. What’s interesting is the fact that the US military acted at the Sunni’s request:
KIRKUK, Iraq (July 20, 2006) – Thursday morning, Soldiers from the 2nd Brigade, 4th Iraqi Army Division and Bastogne Soldiers of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division simultaneously surrounded and entered the cities of Hawija and Riyadh, just west of Kirkuk, searching for suspected al-Qaeda terrorists as combined Operation Gaugamela (gaw’guh-MEE-luh), gets underway.
The ongoing operation, requested by local Sunni Arab leaders, follows a series of terror attacks in the area, and comes as there are reports indicating the presence of al-Qaeda terror cells in the area. In the past five weeks, 31 Iraqi soldiers have been killed in terrorist attacks in the region and just three days ago six policemen were killed in Hawija.
In Hawija, Bastogne Soldiers and Iraqi Security Forces surrounded the city, blocking off escape routes, as another combined force air assaulted into the market in the heart of the city. The units are cordoning off the area and searching for terrorist forces. Meanwhile, Iraqi Security and Coalition Forces surrounded the village of Riyadh, approximately 10 miles away, and are also searching that city.
Operation Gaugamela is named for the battle in which Alexander drove the Persian army from the city of Gaugamela. [Emphasis mine.]
The locals may not like the Americans, but they need them. That’s rather a galling position to be in, I guess, and a dangerous one for the Americans.